Arch inserts are the same thing as arch supports and arch orthotics. Arch inserts may be the size of the length of the full foot or may be the size of one small part of the foot to cover the area of the medial longitudinal arch.
An arch insert is inserted into each of your shoes and may or may not replace the current insole. There are two defining factors that determine whether or not you’ll replace the current insole in your shoes with the insert:
1. The current insole is meant to come out of the shoe or it isn’t.
2. If the arch insert is a complete piece that covers the bottom of your foot.
One question that many people have about arch inserts is this: does everyone need them? The answer is no, everyone doesn’t need them, but arch inserts certainly do make it easier to stand for long hours at a time for everyone.
Standing is rough on the feet because when you’re standing in one place for a while, you aren’t moving around. Movement will increase blood circulation but standing can contribute to blood pooling in the feet.
Just about every manufacturer of insoles will have arch supports. That’s because it’s one of the most popular types of orthotics that people buy. One brand called Arch Angels is designed specifically for children’s feet. You might wonder why children would need arch supports and there really is a reason – the arch inserts can help their feet develop the proper arch.
Newborns are born with flat feet. When they were in the womb, there was no reason for them to need an arch in their feet. Other than kicking a bit, the muscles in their feet and legs aren’t working all that much. Their feet are not supporting their weight. Over the course of the first several years of their life, they will develop the arches of their feet by standing up and walking.
The pressure of the weight on the feet is what forces the bones of the feet to mold into a certain conformation. All children won’t end up with perfectly formed arches in their feet. Some will continue to have flat feet for the rest of their life. Thus, by adding an arch insert into their shoes so their feet can be ‘reminded’ of how they are supposed to be, the support becomes like a little crutch.
Pedag makes arch inserts that utilize natural and non-synthetic materials such as merlino wool, leather, sheepskin, siskal, and cotton. These materials are naturally breathable unlike some synthetic materials. Pedag insoles are accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association and are some of the highest quality on the market.
Every orthotic brand might not specifically call their product arch inserts but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Many companies are moving towards incorporating arch supports right into the design of their insoles. Thus, your medial longitudinal arch will be supported, as well as the metatarsal arch in the ball of the foot, and the heel and forefoot.
It’s not that the arch support is unimportant but rather that these companies are looking at supporting the entire foot in every way possible. You’ll see this with the Powerstep, Superfeet, Birkenstock, Natural Balance, Spenco, and Sof Sole brands.